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Beyond Dubai is a

through the word of mouth or false assumptions?

great culture in need of discovery!





experience; experiencing the true essence of Dubai. But how do we introduce our culture to them in a way that captures their attention and warm their hearts

By Maryam Ali Juma, 3rd of June, 2013

towards our true Emirati identity away from the tallest building in the world

While many tourists are familiar with

(Burj Khalifa) and the best 7 stars hotel

Dubai as the best shopping destination,

(Burj Al Arab)? The answer is simple; just

most of them probably never engaged in

plan a tour to Sheikh Mohammad Bin

the cultural and the traditional spirits of


the city, or at least that is what most of

Understanding (SMCCU).

them miss. Pity too because Dubai has much more to offer than designers attire and endless fanatic festivals! When foreigners are asked to describe






Cultural Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) heritage Tour. reflects


traditional Emirati lifestyle as it offers cultural meals including breakfast and lunch.





Dubai they usually end up with words

“Bastakiya” area, associated by a guide,

like: “camel,” “desert,” “tent,” “rich,” and

sharing the stories behind the design of

“Middle East.” Oh, and one more “hot

the village and the structure of the

weather.” How can we argue when most


of what they know is projected to them

to“Jumairah” Mosque aimed to enhance



the visitor’s knowledge regarding the importance of religion and cultural values in the Emirati family. Those who enlist in the program are ought to experience what I call “discovering what is beyond modernization.”



The motto of the center is: “Open doors,

story hidden somewhere in need of

open minds” so the visitors are welcomed

discovery, so go ahead and unleash what


you are truly missing in Dubai!

ask whatever questions they are

curious to know about the cultural

For more details about the center

aspects of Dubai, for instance; the do’s

check out this brochure

and don’ts, why Emirati ladies wear black “abayas” and so on…. Opening up about why we (Emiratis) behave in a certain way explains a lot for tourists about the cultural values and expectations from both sides; drawing more attention on the generosity and hospitality of the people

Cultural Lunch at SMCCU for 70 Dhs

of Dubai which encourages repeated

cuisines from all over the world and not

visitation or increase in the number of

try the local traditional dishes? There is

international tourists.

no way as a tourist I would miss the chance to talk to Emiratis without the fear

There are many reasons that mark this destination as a “must do” on the check list of numerous number of foreigners in Dubai. Why? Well, why not? How can you behave in a country not knowing if your attitude is acceptable or not? How can you go around the city tasting

that they might refuse to answer me or ignore me? Or are they easy to talk to or not? Once again the answer lays in your hand and your own free well. Ace your fears away with a visit to the center and

Note: This article was inspired by a field trip to the center with my Tourism class (COM 372 – Communicating Tourism, Destinations & Heritage) alongside my Zayed




professor Felariti Kotsi.

leave with a light heart and a full stomach. Remember, there is always a


Tourism article  
Tourism article  

A tourism Article showcasing the reasons why tourists should visit Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding. This articl...